Introduction: Maneuverable Fur

About: My work combines conductive materials and craft techniques to develop new styles of building electronics that emphasize materiality and process. I create working prototypes to demonstrate the kinds of electron…

Many lines penetrating two planes. Displacing the planes through shifting and twisting them causes the lines to move like fur. The lines are straight pins, they are poked through two layers of fabric which are stretched on two separate frames. Glass patterns offer one description of what we see.

This Instructable takes you through the steps of building this hand-held device for displacing lines with the dexterity of both your hands. There are many other materials that can be used in place of pins and fabric, and I'd love to see what alternatives you might come up with if you build a version of this for yourself.

See the last step of this Instructable for some ongoing documentation of a mechanism that could replace our hands as creators of the fluid movements you can see in the videos.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


* stretchy powermesh fabric

* strong thread or thin string

* straight pins

* 3mm acrylic for lasercut frame

* weak elastic thread

If you don't have access to a lasercutter you can also make this by stretching the fabric across another kind of frame like an embroidery loop.


(* lasercutter)

* marker

* scissors

* sewing needle

Step 2: Create a Frame

Attached to this step you'll find the SVG file I used to cut a simple frame from acrylic glass on the lasercutter.

Step 3: Lasercut the Frame

I cut my two circular frames on an Eplilog 120 Watt lasercutter. All the lines are cut, except the thicker line which is engraved. This is so that when the fabric is sewn to the frame the stitches of thread can recess into the frame so that nothing is in the way of the two frames moving and twisting against each other.


speed: 25

power: 90

frequency: 5000


speed: 90

power: 100

dpi: 600

Step 4: Sandblast the Frame

To give the acrylic a nice finish, I decided to sandblast it in the sand/blast booth. This is not a necessary step, but it adds to the smoothness of the material, making it nicer to touch and move the two frames against one another.

Step 5: Trace and Cut Fabric

Use the frame to mark the holes on the fabric. Don't mark the holes exactly where they are, but instead about 1cm inwards. This will cause the fabric to stretch as you sew it to the frame. Cut out the two circles of fabric as shown in photos.

Step 6: Streching Fabric on Frames

Sew the fabric cut-outs to the frame with some strong thread. The engraved groove of the frame should be on the side the the fabric is not (contrary to the photos!!!). Some of the photos in this step and the following steps are wrong.

The fabric should be stretched taught and not have any wrinkles.

Step 7: Tie a Knot

Pull both ends of the thread tight and tie a knot. Tie 3 knots so that it won't come undone.

Step 8: This Is How Your Frames Should Look

Step 9: Add Elastic

Cut two short pieces of the weak elastic thread and thread them through the holes in the frame as shown in the photos. Tie them together. This is to keep the frames in place and from pulling apart completely, while still allowing you to twist and displace the frames to maneuver the fur.

Step 10: Poke Needles Through Layers

Make sure the frames are lines up and begin poking needles through both layers of fabric. Continue until you've filled the surface.

Step 11: Full the Surface With Pins

Fill the surface with as many or as few pins as you like, and you can also play around with arranging them in patterns.

Step 12: Maneuver Your Fur

Grip the frames on either side and use your hands to maneuver the fur.


Step 13: Mechanized Veresion

I would like to maneuver the fur without handling the frames directly. And am looking for mechanisms that will allow me to do so. The following prototype for a possible mechanized maneuver was made by Bernie Lubell. Thank you Bernie!

Make it Move Contest 2016

Participated in the
Make it Move Contest 2016